Team Conflict - Do Your Teams Have Enough?
"Have you ever considered how avoidance of team conflict impairs your team's performance?"
It is a natural human reaction to avoid team conflict, but in any team scenario conflicting opinions must be embraced and encouraged if peak performance is ever to become sustainable.
Every team is full of individuals each with their own unique and valuable perspective, but if they aren't encouraged to offer their opinion then their commitment to team performance will always be impaired.
The TEAMS Model above highlights the five critical steps that must be taken if any team is to deliver high performance consistently.
The root cause of conflict avoidance
The root cause for avoidance of team conflict is the absence of real trust amongst team members.
What underlies a lack of trust?
- Feelings of insecurity
- Lack of clarity on roles and responsibility
- Individual performance emphasised over collective performance
- An environment that supports too much judgment and criticism
- Lack of familiarity with other team members
The first step towards building a Winning Team is establishing real trust amongst all of the team members.
Why is establishing trust so important?
Because in the absence of trust team members will:
- Cover up their own weaknesses
- Not admit to mistakes
- Avoid accountability
- Feign commitment to action plans
- Engage in internal politics
- Become very judgmental of others
...to name but a few, and you can see that all of these traits are directly opposed to a winning team performance.
Conflicting opinions must be embraced
Each team member is a unique individual with their own valuable perspective. You must nurture a team environment built upon trust that encourages and supports the open and honest sharing of every team member's perspective in a non-judgmental manner.
- Because no one person has all the answers to the challenges faced by your team
- If a team member feels their opinion isn't valued, they will never commit totally to any action plan, even if they actually agree with it
Establishing real commitments
It might appear counter-intuitive but we can reassure you that once every team member has been given the opportunity to share their opinion as to the best route forward, and a team decision has then be made as to the best course of action, you will establish much stronger team commitment from all team members whether their opinion was aligned with the team conclusion or not.
Simply everyone wants their opinion to be heard and valued; they are less concerned with whether that opinion is seen as being right by the team
Once conflicting opinions have been embraced, the opportunity has been created for real team commitments to be established and a real winning performance to be delivered.
Don't avoid conflicting opinions, embrace them! You will be glad you did.
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